Some stuff I’ve been thinking about: I don’t believe that art comes from nowhere, that artists and writers do better work in oppressive times (a few rise to the challenge, but so many more choke), that we live or create well when we’re disconnected. Do you have to belong somewhere? No, not at all, and as a friend pointed out, too much belonging is dangerous too. But it’s both a human, and a beyond-human, need to be connected, to have sources of nourishment to draw on, to find the ground in which you thrive best.
“I have the momentary sense of dislocation you feel in places that have over time become so legendary that you forget they were once real, as well as fantasy, landscapes. It is both strange and wonderful to be reminded that the Lapin Agile is not a tourist prop, but the actual place where Picasso painted himself dressed as a harlequin by the side of his lover Germaine Pichot or to see, hurrying by on the windy street outside, faces that might have come straight out of Renoir’s “Bal du moulin de la Galette”….
… [On Suzanne Valadon, who received both encouragement and sometimes dismissal from her fellow artists.] If she had not been introduced to Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec and the rest, if she had not found her tribe, if her work had not been seen, if she had been starved of encouragement — would Valadon, would any of them, have continued to be artists? Beyond the basic necessities of talent and discipline, the artist’s life needs nourishment, support and fertile ground in which to thrive.”
On another kind of nourishment, from terrain and landscape:
“Their chalet, set among trees and meadows, spread its inviting roof like wings over visitors. Their existence as artists was of a different kind, more classically artisanal in the flow between their garden life and their workshop life. Strawberries grew in window-boxes. Tomatoes, snap peas, leeks, romaine and other greens took up beds in the wild flower meadow on one side of the hill, while Jean-Luc’s beehives — three of them, 40,000 bees in each one — had their own, buzzing garden of wildflowers.”
You can read the rest here: https://www.ft.com/content/4bf4ce1e-50f8-11e7-a1f2-db19572361bb